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A market seller feeling the pain of rising prices

Pu Wen-jie has been selling green bean soup at an outdoor market in Taipei for the past three years.

He used to work at a soy bean drink shop, but business dropped and he got laid off. He's among a growing number of Taiwanese struggling to eke out a living, even though Taiwan is one of the richest economies in the world.

The past few decades of rapid economic growth have left many behind, especially low-skilled workers. The island now faces its worst income gap in history. Average annual income of the richest five percent of the population is 75 times higher than that of the poorest five percent.

The government recently began taxing the rich on purchases of extra homes and luxury goods. But many doubt whether this will help people like Mr Pu, who live below the poverty line.

Earning only about $600 (£383) a month, Mr Pu has to support his mother, who also just got laid off, and his younger brother, who is still in school.

After paying the rent and utility bills, they barely have enough money for food.

He's unable to pay his health insurance fees. When he's sick, he can't afford to see a doctor, but has to pick up over-the-counter medicine from a pharmacy instead.

Life is a lot harder than before, especially as inflation has increased his costs, Mr Pu says.

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